On its web site, Uprising Records proclaims that Blue Sky Goodbye is "a new voice from the Midwest", perhaps to borrow some of the cachet of other landlocked acts, such as Desaparecidos and the Promise Ring. But while Blue Sky Goodbye forges great-sounding indie rock, it certainly doesn't sound new. In fact, the quartet's rock and roll music bears more than a passing similarity to late Jawbreaker or early Jets to Brazil.
Part of the resemblance can be credited to BSG vocalist and guitar player Reid Crandall's voice, which sounds a lot like JTB frontman Blake Schwarzenbach's, sans the faux-British accent. Then there are the songs themselves: pop anthems rendered in overdrive. Even Alan Douches' mastering may play a role creating the resemblance; he mastered all three JTB records, as well as platters by just about every other big name indie and emo act of the last five years.
So while originality might not be BSG's thing, tunesmithery is. The four-chord fist-pumpers on The Identity EP are sure to elicit approving yelps from fans of energetic indie rock or pop-punk. "Friday Night Support Group" even delivers some pleasant, albeit by-the-book, melodies -- an additional facet that, along with its throbbing bass line, makes the tune the EP's best. Listeners searching for some sort of revelation in the music may be disappointed; the lyrics don't really offer more than a sketchy outline of introspection, misunderstandings and relationships gone bad. "And every word that I say gets me one step closer to further away" is about as deep as Crandall seems comfortable getting on these four songs -- and that ain't too deep, folks.
Even so, The Identity EP is a solid first effort, especially since the group has only been around for about 18 months. We'll simply have to wait to see whether the act can develop its nascent songwriting prowess, or whether it is content to wade in the shallow end of pop-punk.